If someone had told me, as I valiantly attempted to worm my way out of the obligatory P.E lesson at school for another week, that I would one day voluntarily run 10,000m I would have fallen over laughing.
However, this is what I did yesterday. As mentioned in other posts, this isn't my first phase of running. I completed the London Marathon in 2006, raising money for Scope, after my baby was diagnosed with Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy. But since then it is only the last four months that I have re-introduced running backing into - an already hectic - schedule.
The jiggery pokery to fit training sessions in between school runs and entertaining a hyperactive toddler is not easy. The Hubby does not have set work hours and many occasions when we agree for him to take over with the children it ends up not being possible. This can get quite frustrating, you build yourself up for it all for nothing and sometimes you think, is it worth it?
Then a race day arrives. Mine are prepared for with military organisation. Laying out running kit, charging the Ipod, purchasing the appropriate drinks and food, finding safety pins. There is a little anxiety about finding the venue and making sure you don't miss the call to the start line. But at that line, you realise it is all worth it.
I love race days. I love to be competitive with myself. I know for certain that the distance is exact on a race day so you are going to get a pretty definitive timing. They are great for assessing any improvement in your running and make all those training styles worth hauling out for in all weathers.
I have been building up slowly and sensibly with my running. I have completed a couple of 5K races and was thrilled to crack my nemesis of the 30 minute barrier in the last one participated in. The next target was the Dedham 10K, 25th Anniversary.
The main fear of a runner (or any sport) is that of injury. It was frustrating when I picked up some damage to my Patella Tendon. But after a trip to the physio and dutifully following his instructions I was back up and (pardon the pun) running again. But felt quite under trained for the 10,000m that loomed.
However, I made it to the race start in the beautiful 'Constable Country' - Dedham. I knew I would have to try and not carried away with the masses at the start and run too fast. It is very difficult not to get swept along, but as I was unfamiliar with the route and was aware it held a few, dreaded hills, I managed to pace myself.
Rules stipulated that due to the route being on roads that would not be traffic free, no audio equipment was allowed. This was tough for me, I only ever run with music. But I have to say, I think it was more pleasurable without it. The rolling, green, leafy, scenic countryside and the friendly banters of other runners was quite inspiring.
I was pleased at how strong I still felt when I passed the 9km marker. I was even more pleased when the Marshall jovially informed us that it was mostly downhill to the end! I knew I had managed my pacing well when I could feel myself powering along the last 1000m and was smiling as I reached the big yellow 'FINISH' sign. With a large group of my wonderful family members at the end to congratulate me it was a great way to spend Sunday.
Even better, I surpassed my expected 1.15 finish time and came in at 1.06. Now it is on with the training for my 10 mile race in Portsmouth at the end of October.